Urban Velo

Sandcastle Waterpark in Pittsburgh Blocks Historic Trail Completion

overview_toprtNewsweek is shining light on a story that has irked countless cyclists making the otherwise unbroken trail ride between Pittsburgh and Washington DC—that a small waterpark just outside of Pittsburgh is blocking completion of the 300+ mile route. Sandcastle Waterpark has refused to allow the trail to proceed through their property, even threatening riders with arrest who pedal their bike through their parking lot that features a double yellow line for car traffic, forcing riders to take what amounts to a highway around their property and thwarting what would otherwise be the longest continuous city to city trail in the United States. While there are a few other gaps in the trail for about 5 miles past Sandcastle, the land rights have been secured and the trail construction is underway even in not in a hurry due to the inevitable road block of water slides. The Post Gazette reported on the situation back in August 2008 when it had already stretched to a decade long battle, with the last local report in October of 2008 citing progress but nothing more. Hopefully the national level press coverage will help pressure Sandcastle to allow the trail to proceed, or to build public support and further pressure to find a solution.


  1. JimCJanuary 21, 2010 at 7:10 am

    So bike riders think that property rights belong to them instead of to the property owner? Makes me ashamed to be a bike rider.

    “Ohhh, I ride a bike, so you HAVE to let me ride through YOUR property whether you want me too or not.”

    That is one disgusting, arrogant, self-serving, jack**s attitude.

    What makes some bike riders think they are so special that they think their desire to ride a bike means property owners should lose their rights to use their own property as they see fit?

    Hey guys, you ride a bike. That really just doesn’t make you special. It just means you ride a bike. What is dirt motorcycle riders start complaining that dirt bicycle trails are in THEIR way.

    Quit acting like spoiled children and deal with the fact that you don’t always get what you want and that you don’t have the right to get everything you want especially when it belongs to someone else.

  2. JacobJanuary 21, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Don’t feed the trolls!

  3. TerryJanuary 21, 2010 at 8:59 am

    If someone wants to ride my bicycle and I tell them “no,” then they have no right to do so. If they ride it anyway, then they are trampling upon my property rights. If they really want to ride my bicycle and I don’t allow them, they could always buy it from me, and then they can do whatever they want with the bicycle. If I don’t want to sell it, then too bad for them. It is my bicycle, not theirs; they have no right to it or its use.

    I suppose if bicyclists really are so concerned about the bicycle trail mentioned here, they should get together, pool their money and buy the land they need (or buy the right to its use). Then they can do whatever they want with the property. Interesting that it seems that so far bicyclists are only concerned about getting someone else to give up their property or its use. Put your money where your mouth is, those of you who think this is so important, and buy the land you seek. Then it is yours to do with as you please. Interesting that bicyclist want to only take here and not give. Buy the property and be the givers yourselves. It is easy to give away or demand the use of what others own. Don’t’ be selfish. Buy the land and then give away your own property instead of the property of someone else. Or keep the property and allow its use. Either way, it isn’t yours to use or to allow others to use until you own it.

    I find it amusing that bicyclists, who are always so vocal about their rights, are so intent about ignoring the rights of others. Why should a group so eager to trample upon the rights of others–or to force others to give up their rights–think that anyone should respect the rights they themselves care about? Buy the land, and donate it to the cause, if you think it so important. That is a right you have. Use that right. Don’t be so pretentious and presume that you have the right to take away the property rights of others.

    It is my bicycle. If I don’t want you to ride it, then too bad. It it their land. If they don’t want you to use it, then too bad. In either case, you can buy the property and then do what you want with it. Yes, you can force people with political pressure or public pressure to do what they really do not want to do, but that makes you a lesser person, not a better one. And in the end, that will hurt the cause of bicyclists, not help them.

    Just because you want something, does not give you the right to have others give it to you. Basically, I agree with the first post, though I would have worded it different.

    And just because you do not agree with someone does not make them a “troll.”

  4. ZoydJanuary 21, 2010 at 10:55 am

    It would appear that neither JimC nor Terry have bothered to read the linked articles, which would make it clear that it’s hardly a bunch of entitled bicyclists demanding free use of someone else’s property. Much larger agencies and actors are involved in the negotiations, which involve–among other things–a multi-million dollar flood mitigation project.

  5. GussyJanuary 21, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Did you guys even read the article? They are still in negotiations. This sort of thing happens all the time with roads, so why not Bike paths? It could actually be a boom for the Sandcastle ppl to have a bike path running past their door. The article also states that Sandcastle is waiting on the railway, so it is not the cyclists whining about not getting their own way, its call lobbying. Car/Oil companies do it all the time. Get off your high “Cyclist are being whiny bitches” horses, and maybe have a look, or read the freaking article!

  6. william BrownJanuary 21, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Egad, read the news week article and use Google.

    Sandcastle is only open in the summer yet they take a stand against people riding through the parking lot 365 days a year, its parent company the main one not the two little ones between the big one have no clue its even on a trail. In fact it doesn’t even know about bike ridding through the area newsweek had to tell them. The owner of the land rights The rail road has no problem with the public using the land they just want to what part to cover any liability and taxes.

    The main issues holding every thing up, is poor communication and bad public relations, no one know what part of private owned land the group wants; they are scared of eminent domain taking vital parts.

    To top it all off, you have several endangered furry critters in that area, that’s just adding to the problems if you find them in the process of building the bike path you may own the land but the cute furry endangered or near endangered species wins land usage.

  7. DizzlJanuary 21, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    at first i thought “they wont let them ride thru the parking lot? lame.” but thinking it over, i can see the waterpark’s point, if tons of bikers are riding thru their parking lot thats a huge liability issue.

    i can just imagine some Lycra’d up road biker not seeing a pole or something in the parking lot and hurting themselves badly then try to sue the waterpark.

    sort of like “hi i would like a hot coffee” then “FFFUUUUU i burned myself on this hot coffee! someone’s going to PAY!!”

  8. RussJanuary 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Perhaps a “critical mass” event on Sandcastle’s Opening day?

  9. DennisJanuary 21, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    If ever there were a valid case for eminent domain, this is it: a right-of-way that would not affect the business’s economic viability, for a general public purpose.

    I wonder if the owners of Sandcastle ever received an easement, tax credit or development grant.

  10. JimCJanuary 21, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I read the article. It seems there are many whiny bikers here too.

  11. JimCJanuary 21, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    You got your values right Zoyd. when actors say something, then we should all do it.

  12. DNFTTJanuary 21, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Don’t feed the troll.

  13. MikeJanuary 22, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I’ll stand with those who believe in property rights, troll or not.

  14. MikeJanuary 22, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    eminent domain should be reserved for the very, very few public works that require it, not a small specail interest group which is what this is

  15. erokJanuary 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    @ Dizzl: Pennsylvania actually has some pretty progressive liability laws when it comes to public recreation. basically, if you provide an easement for public recreational activity, the state takes on all liability. the amount of tourist dollars this is going to bring to pittsburgh once it’s done is ridiculous.

  16. EricJanuary 23, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Maybe they’ve been restrictive to cyclists in the past, but last summer, the guards/gatekeepers were happy to let me through the park on my bike. They said their policy is to let riders through when the park is open (of course, otherwise, the gate is closed).

    If the parent company doesn’t really know of the issue, it seems they should be contacted to be brought into the discussion.

    Let’s not vilify them too strongly. That’s hardly a way to engender working together to find a resolution we can all be happy with…

  17. AMJanuary 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    lol @ JimC thinking actors meant Hollywood. Good reading comprehension.

  18. JimCJanuary 24, 2010 at 7:30 am

    lol @ am trying to put words in my mouth that I didn’t say just to act clever. Poor comprehension on your part am.

  19. JimCJanuary 24, 2010 at 8:49 am

    be that as it may, am and others, please give me your arguments for why biycle riders think they have the right to use others peoples property

  20. unixd0rkJanuary 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

    jimC: how much does sandcastle pay you for your horrible PR work?

    sandcastle and other businesses in the area could benefit greatly from a constant stream of recreational tourists. the liability issue isn’t an issue, as erok has mentioned. so perhaps the question you should be asking, JimC, is why sandcastle seems to be allowing their public (non)response seem like they don’t care about cyclists or bringing more money into the region.

    the fact that you could probably drive a car through the sandcastle parking lot all day if you wanted without paying to enter the park seems to elude some. maybe those of us cyclists with cars should organize something where we drive around the lot and take up spaces all day during the hottest day of the year. (heh.)

  21. JimCJanuary 25, 2010 at 7:24 am

    yep, purposely abusing sandcastles hospitality by taking up space for no reason will help your cause. But that should be expected from those who think other peoples property is theirs to take.

    I don’t care why sandcastle does what it does. It is their business not mine. Like someone mentioned above, if you want to use their property then buy it and use it. Awful greedy to think you should be able to use others property just because you want to. Maybe Walmart wants to put a store on your property. At least hey would buy it from you.

  22. PaulJanuary 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    JimC, you’re an idiot dude.
    People here are not being whiney cyclists (though there are plenty that exist).
    The issue is not “I’m a cyclist, gimme gimme gimme”
    “Cyclists should not be discriminated against, and not treated negatively when cars are not being treated likewise.”
    There is a possibility that Sandcastle targets cyclists to enforce some policy just because they are a cyclist, and therefore somehow less likely to be a customer?”

    Additionally, there seems to be a solution in the future, the sources on the internet imply that they are in the process of moving things along, and that nobody is a bad guy.

    So as a recap:
    JimC = idiot
    everything = fine

  23. ShawnFebruary 12, 2010 at 9:55 pm

    This thread is ridiculous! This is why there is no progression in Pittsburgh and everybody moves away. I don’t ride a bike, but who cares if this will bring additional recreation for those who wish to partake. It would clearly be a safety issue for riders to have to go off trail into the mess of highway in that area. For those who oppose this – Go spend some time confiscating children’s balls who end up in your yard and stay out of the way of progression for others who clearly have a life. Maybe if you take up bike riding or exercise in some shape or form you won’t be so grumpy -Oh! and whiney! If Sandcastle doesn’t release access through their property like those who have already granted access all the way to DC. Sandcastle will not get my business anymore and I will pass it on. Cities progress and expand – go move to the boonies. We will all chip in for some barbed wire for y’all.

  24. RickFJuly 22, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    JimC is such a stupid, selfish idiot. Green space and trails serve to attract intelligent, affluent folks to superior communities. Paranoid retards with a militia/patriot No Trespassing or low IQ red neck mentality serve to degrade communities by lowering overall quality of life. Most landowners having sidewalks or along trails throughout the USA have the same liability issues as Sandcastle. Big deal. Walking and bicycles are not as dangerous as the cars they allow on their precious property. Land values RISE for properties along trail because it’s a net gain. The management of this water park is narrow-minded and they don’t care about the overall public good. I know plenty of folks who will not visit Sandcastle due to their position on this issue. Liability and safety is a non-issue because the trail will likely be positioned adjacent to the fencing. Safety issues are related to speeding 2 ton vehicles hitting folks walking through parking lot to the park entrance. The park is closed 8 months per year. The not in my backyard argument shouldn’t be applied to Sandcastle Water Park. Their water slides are 10000x more dangerous and they have plentyof safety violations. Why are other businesses along this trail (for years) at Pgh’s Station Square and Homestead’s Waterfront totally embracing it? Well, it’s because their management is wise.

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